Enhanced Library Collection Access through GIS: Historic Colorado Aerial Photographs
This case study presents the use of GIS in a map library to create an enhanced
index for a collection of historical aerial photographs of Colorado. The
University of Colorado at Boulder’s Jerry Crail Johnson Earth Sciences and
Map Library scanned and indexed 1700 aerial photographs taken from 1938-
1947. Library staff used ArcView 3.2 and ArcGIS 8.1 to plot the center points
of each photograph and enhanced the georeferencing with a detailed attribute
table. The project Web site provides access to the photographs and the spatial
data captured in the attribute table through a map search and a keyword
The flight plan of a digital initiatives project: Providing remote access to aerial photographs of Colorado
– To present a case study of a digital initiative for cartographic materials in order to provide a reference for other institutions embarking on similar projects.
– Describes the technical and practical details of the processes involved in georeferencing and providing online access to scanned aerial photographs.
– In the short time that the site has been live, the Map Library has already seen a marked increase in reference queries from both local and national users.
– From a practical standpoint, the project would not have been a success without collaboration between map, metadata, and systems librarians.
– To date, little has been published about digital initiatives projects providing online access to historical aerial photographs, a distinct and complex subset of cartographic materials. It is hoped that this case study will allow other institutions to learn from the approach and experience of the University of Colorado at Boulder Libraries.